Yesterday, the NFL suspended Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker James Harrison one game for his helmet-to-helmet shot on Cleveland Browns quarterback Colt McCoy last Thursday.
|Photo by: Justin K. Aller|
McCoy developed concussion-like symptoms following the game, leading the NFL Players Association to send representatives to Cleveland to look into how the team handled his injury.
Harrison was penalized for roughing the passer on the play and said Monday that he felt the hit didn't warrant any further punishment.
However, NFL Executive Vice President Ray Anderson disagreed, pointing out the violation marked the fifth illegal hit on a quarterback by Harrison in the past three seasons. The four-time Pro Bowler has also been fined on two other occasions for unnecessary roughness over the same time span.
Bill Parise, Harrison's agent, said that his client will file an appeal. If the suspension stands, Harrison will become the first person to miss game time as a penalty under the league's new policy on hitting defenseless players.
In my opinion, Commissioner Roger Goodell completely dropped the ball on this one. If there were ever a player who deserved to be made an example out of, it's Harrison. Yet, all he got was one lousy game? This is the same guy who has repeatedly said that he's not going to change the way he plays (and hasn't), and the same person that called Goodell "a crook" and "the devil" (among other things) during the NFL lockout.
Goodell had a chance to send a loud message to the entire league that these types of hits are unacceptable and won't be tolerated. Instead, he decided to treat Harrison almost as if he were a first-time offender, which obviously, he isn't.
Way to go Roger. Maybe next time Harrison goes on one of his little tirades, he should add the word spineless to the laundry list of adjectives he uses to describe you.